October 2, 2011 Subject:
Interesting for sociohistorical reasons
While this film briefly acknowledges Foster's debt to African Americans in the first few minutes, they then vanish completely from the rest of the story. This presents some of the best minstrel show performances you will find. It is a pretty stagy hollywoodization of Foster's life and certainly never depicts him so hard up for a drink that he scrawls off a melody to sell for whiskey money, or bleeding to death after falling on a liquor bottle as in real life. Mild and contrived, with little connection to reality, but also colorful and musical throughout. A weird combination of good and bad, worth seeing once, more for the mindset of the culture at the time the movie was made than for genuine historical information about Foster.